Reporting David Elfin
In a fall of franchise firsts, a 59-yard field goal, 14 catches in a game, a mere 11 points in consecutive games (the fewest in more than a decade), the staggering Washington Redskins can make more unfortunate history on Sunday.
If they lose to the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium, not only will the Redskins have a 5-game skid for the first time since coach Mike Shanahan’s former AFC West rival Marty “One Voice” Schottenheimer was in command in Washington, three of those defeats will have come against opponents that came into the games with just one victory.
And that’s not even counting the Week 3 loss in Dallas to the 1-1 Cowboys.
In Week 6, Washington, fresh off its bye, fell behind 1-4 Philadelphia 20-0 en route to losing 20-13. The Eagles are 1-1 since, making them 2-5 against everyone else.
The following Sunday, the Redskins surrendered two touchdowns in the third quarter as 1-5 Carolina turned a struggle into a 23-13 lead and eventually a 33-20 triumph. The Panthers are 0-1 since, making them 1-6 against everyone else.
And now come the Dolphins, who are 1-7 overall, 0-3 at home. Miami has lost seven in a row at Sun Life Stadium since last Nov. 14.
Redskins defensive end Stephen Bowen said that his 13th-ranked unit just has to “do what we do” no matter the state of its next foe or the condition of its own points-challenged offense.
Washington quarterback John Beck, who got his start with Miami in 2007, is wary of the Dolphins, who nearly beat Denver and the New York Giants in Weeks 7-8 before crushing Kansas City last week.
If the Redskins lose to Miami and the Dolphins and Panthers each finish with fewer than five victories, Shanahan’s current crew would equal predecessor Jim Zorn’s teams by losing to two bumbling bunches (Cincinnati and St. Louis in 2008; Detroit and Kansas City in 2009).
As bad as the Redskins were last season, they not only beat eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay and divisionwinners Philadelphia and Chicago, they didn’t lose to any rival that finished with a record worse than theirs.
Washington’s conquerors in 2010 included: the Giants (twice), Eagles, Indianapolis and Tampa Bay, who won 10 games apiece; the Rams who won seven games; and the Cowboys, Lions, Houston and Minnesota, who won six.
Maybe you don’t want to call it rebuilding, coach, but it sure feels like your team is regressing.
David Elfin has covered sports since he was a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in 1975. He is the Washington representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is the author of the new book: “Washington Redskins: The Complete Illustrated History.” A pre-game regular on 106.7-The Fan during the 2010 Redskins season, he returned to the station as its blogger in March.